Enjoy Some Vintage Content

I’m away at the beach this weekend {squeee, I know!}, so I thought I’d hook you up with some snazzy Sweet Phenomena content:

Have a great weekend!


One of Our Favorite Springtime Traditions


Back when we lived in WA, Vince was in the Navy.  That meant he wasn’t home very often.

Babydoll was much younger then, and aside from when my mother-in-law would come to visit {or we’d go to see her}, it was just she and I.  I felt compelled to make even ordinary things fun and memorable.

So, a few years ago, I started preparing a brunch for she and I, ever Spring.  It has proven to be a tradition that we repeat year after year, and one we really enjoy!

I had Disney Winnie the Pooh springtime china, so I thought, “What better way to use this than our once-a-year brunch?”  That makes it even more special.

As you can see in the picture above, I make little menus and place-setting cards.  I use fancy serving trays.  I fold napkins into fun animals.

And the food…  Oh man, the food.

I vary the menu each year, but we’ve had cheddar corn muffins, deviled eggs {I make the best ones, hands down}, strawberries and cream, bacon-wrapped green beans, ham, biscuits, crepes {I now know I should buy them…}, scones, lemon bars, frittatas, and on and on.

I love to cook, but quite often everyday life squelches that desire.  But, doing things like this really gives me the chance to throw down and really have fun.

I’m hoping it’s something Babydoll will remember fondly when she’s too old to care about doing stuff with me!

The folks at Hershey’s are all about helping you celebrate with flair!  They were Blissdom sponsors and had a fun booth set up, complete with chocolate.

So, how do you celebrate with your family?  Do you have any special traditions that are your own?

True Confessions:  I have received Hershey’s product in exchange for this post.  I do this brunch every year, though, and it was fun sharing it with you guys!

Hallmark Tell Them {GIVEAWAY CLOSED}


Ever get the feeling that you don’t take enough time to tell the people you care about how much you care?

Yeah, I thought so.  I do too.  Quite often, actually.

Truth of the matter is, none of us know how long we have on this earth.  None of us know when we won’t have the luxury of being able to talk to those we care about.

Every one of us has something we want to hear, and we have something we want to say.  We get caught up in everyday life, we’re shy, we forget, we take those people for granted.


Hallmark realized how much we forgot to tell folks we loved them, missed them, cared about them, and launched the Hallmark Tell Them campaign.

They wanted to make sure we vowed to tell those special folks just what they needed to hear, what we want to tell them.

Check out their warm and fuzzy little video:

They’ve even put up a little page on Facebook to help you take the vow, and to let others know what that vow is!

Awesome I tell you!

Hallmark was a Blissdom sponsor and they had one of the most fun suites there:  they set up a card shop for us and we could not only pick out cards to send to friends and family that weren’t at Blissdom {I sent one to Babydoll and one to Vince}, but you could also pick out cards to give to someone at Blissdom!

All we had to do was put the person’s Twitter handle on the front of the card and they had a nifty little card holder wall thing up with tons of cards for folks at Blissom!  So warm and fuzzy!

I was pleasantly surprised to find out I had been carded!

Hallmark even sent me a couple of cards when I got home!  Love them.

Now, we’ve talked about the importance of telling someone what you feel, but you need a manner with which to do so, yes?

Hallmark is hooking one of you up with a pack of 10 greeting cards!!!!  Use the form below to enter!

True Confessions:  So, Hallmark sent me a couple of cards.  And they were a Blissdom sponsor.  And they mentioned if I’d like to post about them and their campaign they’d give one of you some cards.  They’re awesome.  I love cards.  I wanted you guys to win.  And to thank Hallmark for coming to Blissdom…


The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Portfolios


Some states require extensive homeschool portfolios be maintained to ensure parents are complying with regulations.

Other states are fairly lenient, but many parents still like to keep a portfolio to document a child’s work and progress.

In my quest to become a better portfolio parent, I decided to share the bounty of links I found.


Homeschool Essentials:  The Portfolio – Great breakdown on getting a portfolio started

Donna Young’s Homeschool Portfolio Planner – A great assortment of printables to help you get started

Homeschool Portfolio Evaluations Shouldn’t Be Scary! – Q&A about portfolios

Homeschool Portfolios – How one mom puts together her portfolio

Homeschool Portfolios – An extensive list of what this mom includes in portfolios

Homeschool Portfolio – Complete with editable PDF printables

Recordkeeping:  Portfolio & Grades – Includes ideas of what to include for each subject

Creating a Homeschooling Portfolio – A PA mom’s guide to creating a portfolio

Preparing a Homeschool Portfolio – Another guide to creating a portfolio

How to Create a Homeschool Portfolio – A list of essentials to include

8 Benefits of Creating Homeschool Portfolios – A list of the benefits of having a portfolio

Creating, Maintaining, and Presenting a Homeschool Portfolio – This takes from the beginning to the end of the process

Preparing the Homeschool Portfolio – Another list of items to include

Homeschool Portfolio 1, 2, 3 – Great step-by-step process with lots of pictures

How to Make a Homeschool Portfolio – More great pictures

How to Make a Homeschool Portfolio – Tab ideas and scrapbooking suggestions

Create the Perfect Homeschool Portfolio – Another mom’s way of doing things

Keeping a Homeschool Portfolio for High School – A list of high school specific ideas

Homeschool Portfolios:  Evaluation Checklist and More – Includes a link to a free checklist

A Homeschool Portfolio – An extensive post about this family’s homeschool portfolio

TOS Sweet Critique: Action Alert

Action Alert


What:  Action Alert

Cost:  Free limited-functionality option OR maximum protection for $29.99

Recommended Ages:  Any



Action Alert is internet safety software designed to help protect your child during computer time.

Two options are available for parents:

  • a free option that gives you everything you need to keep your child safe online
  • a paid option {$29.99} that also provides you with multiple user protection, full social media monitoring, and a fully customizable program

Action Alert gives you the following internet safety tools:



I was happy to get the chance to review this item, since Babydoll does spend quite a bit of time on the internet.  This software comes with an impressive set of tools to really help you protect your children.  A few of my favorite features were:

  • Ability to shut down the computer remotely
  • Activity video recording
  • Site blocking
  • Content filtering
  • Keystroke, chat, and email logging

While I don’t yet have a need for all of these just yet {Babydoll doesn’t use email or chat}, I appreciate the way this program can grow with your child.

I have the ability to protect her from unsafe search results and content right now, and then can monitor social media and email use, shut down the computer remotely if I need to, and set time limits for her in the future.

Unfortunately, her screen went out in the middle of testing the program, so I didn’t really get to use the product to it’s fullest potential.

I did get email updates on her activity and she did notice the safe search feature as well.  Those two alone were awesome to have.

The user manual does a great job of taking you through all the steps necessary to full protect your child online.

At $29.99, it’s a bargain compared to other programs and really has some great features not present in others.

Action Alert is the only internet safety software endorsed by the Child Safety Network and it has won the Disney iParenting Award.

Here are a couple of screenshots of the parent dashboard:


You can see what other members of the Crew thought here!

True Confessions:  I received the maximum protection version of this product in exchange for an honest review.